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Relates to 'the Story of Tom Brennan'

In: English and Literature

Submitted By tit2nia
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John Carter got involved in crime at the age of 12. After eight years in prison he finally got to meet one of his victims. John is now married with two children. He works as a gardener and is taking a degree in English Literature.

I started getting into trouble when I was at school – shoplifting, burglary, that kind of thing. At 14 I was sent to a detention centre for three months, after which I went straight back into petty crime. When I left school I had no qualifications and joined a Hell’s Angels motorcycle club. By now I was committing more serious offences, making the lives of my mother and four sisters an absolute misery. But for me it was all just a game of cops and robbers. I was in and out of jail and even committed a serious offence while on the run: that was when I hurled a table into the air in a pub and a young girl had her face badly lacerated.

By 22, as a result of armed robbery, I received an eight-year sentence. I felt no remorse and from day one I rebelled against the prison. I was proud of my crimes – they were me and showed people that I was a nasty, evil bastard who was not to be messed with. At one time I ended up doing solitary at Dartmoor for 18 months because by that point I’d become almost rabid and would attack anyone. It was then that a psychiatrist suggested that I go to the therapeutic prison, Grendon Underwood.

At Grendon we worked together in small groups. A lot of soul searching went on. I did exceedingly well in therapy and started helping others. I started getting anxious about being released in case I went back into crime. It was then that my probation officer started telling me about restorative justice. She felt I’d reached a point where I could feel empathy, and suggested that perhaps I should meet one of my victims. The question was, which one? There were literally hundreds. My probation officer asked me which offence...

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